skip to content

Click here to search our resources

PEDAL Hub: Resource Library

Definition

Barbu, S. et al. (2011) Boys and girls on the playground: sex differences in social development are not stable across early childhood (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Sex differences in human social behaviors and abilities have long been a question of public and scientific interest. Females are usually assumed to be more socially oriented and skillful than males. However, despite an extensive literature, the very existence of sex differences remains a matter of discussion while some studies found no sex differences whereas others reported differences that were either congruent or not with gender stereotypes. Moreover, the magnitude, consistency and stability across time of the differences remain an open question, especially during childhood. As play provides an excellent window into children's social development, we investigated whether and how sex differences change in social play across early childhood. Following a cross-sectional design, 164 children aged from 2 to 6 years old, divided into four age groups, were observed during outdoor free play at nursery school. We showed that sex differences are not stable over time evidencing a developmental gap between girls and boys. Social and structured forms of play emerge systematically earlier in girls than in boys leading to subsequent sex differences in favor of girls at some ages, successively in associative play at 3-4 years, cooperative play at 4-5 years, and social interactions with peers at 5-6 years. Preschool boys also display more solitary play than preschool girls, especially when young. Nevertheless, while boys catch up and girls move on towards more complex play, sex differences in social play patterns are reversed in favor of boys at the following ages, such as in associative play at 4-5 years and cooperative play at 5-6 years. This developmental perspective contributes to resolve apparent discrepancies between single-snapshot studies. A better understanding of the dynamics of sex differences in typical social development should also provide insights into atypical social developments which exhibit sex differences in prevalence, such as autism.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
e16407
Synonyms:
  • Cooperative play
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Parallel play
  • Peers play
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Solitary play
Research discipline:

Brown, M. et al. (2017) Supporting the development of empathy: The role of theory of mind and fantasy orientation (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Theory of mind (ToM) and empathy are separate, but related components of social understanding. However, research has not clearly defined the distinctions between them. Similarly, related constructs, such as fantasy orientation (FO), are associated with better ToM understanding; however, little is known about how FO may provide a context in which both ToM and affective empathy develop. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 (N = 82) completed a battery of ToM, empathy, and FO measures. Results demonstrated a developmental progression from ToM to affective empathy: 3-year-olds were likely to have neither, 4-year-olds were likely to have ToM only, and 5-year-olds were likely to have both. Additionally, results indicated that FO predicted affective empathy above and beyond ToM ability, suggesting that children whose play is high in fantasy are more practiced than their peers in sharing emotions. These findings are discussed in terms of how children's propensity toward fantasy play may contribute to their social development.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
951-964
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

DeLoache, J. et al. (1985) The Development of Error Correction Strategies in Young Children's Manipulative Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The focus of this study was the strategies used by young children between 18 and 42 months for correcting the errors they made as they attempted to nest a set of 5 seriated cups. In the process of combining the cups, the children committed numerous errors (such as putting a cup that was too large on a smaller cup), and they tried to correct the majority of those errors. Detailed examination of the children's correction attempts revealed that the strategies they used changed substantially with age, becoming increasingly more flexible and involving more extensive restructuring of the relations among the cups. Earlier correction attempts tended to focus on a single, nonfitting cup or on a single relation between 2 cups. Later-appearing strategies involved the coordination of relations involving several cups. The same trend toward increasing flexibility of thought and action also appeared in the procedures the children used to combine the cups. This study thus documents a finely graded series of cognitively significant changes in children's constructive activity during a period that has been poorly differentiated by cognitive developmental research. In so doing, it demonstrates the usefulness for problem-solving research of analyzing how subjects go about trying to rectify their own mistakes.

Date:
January 1985
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
56
Page/s:
928-939
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Exploratory play
  • Functional play
  • Object play
  • Problem-solving
Research discipline:

Krafft, K. et al. (1998) Private speech in two preschools: Significance of open-ended activities and make-believe play for verbal self-regulation (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Contextual influences on private speech were examined in two preschools differing in the learning environments they provide for children. Observations of 3- to 5-year-olds were made during free-choice periods in a Montessori and a traditional (play-oriented) program. Consistent with Vygotsky's theory that make-believe play serves as a vital context for the development of self-regulation, the incidence of private speech was much higher during open-ended activities, especially fantasy play, that require children to determine the goal of the task, than during closed-ended tasks with predetermined goals. In line with previous research, the more direct involvement, or external regulation, teachers displayed, the lower the rate of children's private speech. In addition, transitions (as opposed to involvement in activities) were linked to reduced private speech, whereas engagement with peers, in the form of associative play, predicted greater self-directed language. Diminished make-believe play, greater teacher direct involvement, and heightened time spent in transitions largely accounted for the lower incidence of private speech in the Montessori compared with the traditional preschool. Contextual factors also contributed to a drop in private speech at age 5. Implications for fostering children's verbal self-regulation during early childhood are considered.

Date:
January 1998
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
13
Page/s:
637-658
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Peers play
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:

Lillemyr, O. et al. (2010) Indigenous and non‐Indigenous primary school students’ attitudes on play, humour, learning and self‐concept: a comparative perspective (Journal Article)

Pino-Pasternak, D. et al. (2014) Interventions and Classroom Contexts That Promote Self-Regulated Learning: Two Intervention Studies in United Kingdom Primary Classrooms (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper has 2 aims: (a) identify pedagogical practices and classroom arrangements that foster self-regulated learning (SRL) on the basis of extant research and (b) illustrate, through the description of 2 intervention studies conducted in the United Kingdom, how those SRL promoting features can be used to design educational interventions appropriate for young students. Through a purposive sample of primary schools, both studies investigated the effects of collaborative problem solving, play, and dialogue on children’s SRL and academic achievement, following quasiexperimental pre- and post-test designs, comprising concurrent (Study 1) and retrospective (Study 2) comparison groups. Assessment and intervention data was video recorded and coded. In Study 1 the intervention group (57 1st grade students) participated in 8 collaborative problem-solving activities. ANOVAs analysis revealed improvements in declarative and monitoring aspects of SRL with enhanced improvements for initially low SRL students. In Study 2 (ongoing; 108 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students) participants engage in 12 episodes of pretence and constructional play involving LEGO©, used to stimulate the generation of different genres of texts. Preliminary findings indicate positive uptake of the programme by students and teachers.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
23
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Collaborative skills
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Object play
  • Peers play
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Whitebread, D. et al. (2005) Developing independent learning in the early years (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper describes a research project currently running in Cambridgeshire Foundation Stage settings exploring the development of independent learning in young children. In the first year the project has explored the work of 16 practitioners working with 3–5 year old children, using a range of methodologies including questionnaires, interviews and reflective dialogues (based on video recordings of particular classroom episodes), reflective journals and child assessment checklists. The development of the range of abilities involved in becoming a self-regulating, independent learner has been conceptualised in terms of research and theory relating to the development of ‘metacognitive’ abilities and dispositions. It is argued that, while the development of independent learning is generally accepted as an important educational aim, current trends in Primary education which have encouraged a more teacher-directed approach, are not helpful. The paper advances a model of independent learning which is based on developmental psychological research, and presents interim findings from the project which suggest that even our youngest children are capable of considerable independence in their learning. While particular pedagogical techniques and approaches need to be developed, many of these are well-established and researched, and can be shown to be effective in fostering independent learning abilities within the Primary school context.

Date:
January 2005
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
33
Page/s:
40-50
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Metacognition
  • Pedagogy
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s: